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Fossil Aerosol Mining Project, "Predicament Recordings Volume II 2​.​2021"

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In characteristically enigmatic fashion, this inscrutable Illinois collective recorded a two-album series over the winter and opted to release the second part first.  The two releases were conjured into existence during a brief "real-time, studio interaction" earlier this year, but the source material actually spans roughly a decade of scavenged sonic ephemera.  If this were any other project, cannibalizing old recordings might be considered a "vault clearing" of sorts, but with Fossil Aerosol Mining Project, the whole point has always been to dig up long-forgotten shit from the past and repurpose it into something thoroughly weird and disturbing.  Before this album, I was admittedly starting to wonder if this project was in a rut, as there have been a couple recent releases that I was less than enthusiastic about.  However, it would be more accurate to say that this project is an unpredictably hit-or-miss one and this album is mostly a hit, as these murky nightmares nicely approximate an aesthetic best described as "what I hope to hear whenever I unearth some incredibly obscure yet revered '80s noise tape."

Self-Released

This particular album does not have an explicit conceptual theme lurking behind it (beyond the collective's usual morbid fascinations), but it does not exactly need one when the project's general vibe is nearly always some variation of "disturbing fever dream set in a George Romero movie."  That said, the collective's vision has encompassed a few different strains of disorienting and creepy analog murk over the years and I tend to prefer the albums where some glimpses of melody, kitsch, or black humor brighten the pervasive atmosphere of rot, ruin, and existential horror.  The humor this time is limited to the title's droll nod to the pandemic, sadly, but that is not a deal-breaker: if the spectral fragments that billow up out of the slime are compelling, I am always willing to submerge myself in Fossil Aerosol's seething miasma of tape loops and abandoned film canisters.  The fragments in this case evoke a mysteriously abandoned secret military base in a malarial jungle, as the recurring themes seem to be ghostly machine hum, enigmatic loops of echoing voices, phantom radio transmissions, and a host of vaguely menacing "natural" sounds like buzzing insects and distant, muffled howls.  In the closing "Passage Three" there is even an unexpected and visceral flurry of percussion, but it only emphasizes the existing dread further, resembling the war drums I might hear if I found myself suddenly dropped into Cannibal Holocaust.  Fortunately, that has not happened to me yet, so I am free to wallow in the less extreme sensation of watching a cursed video cassette that makes everything around me curdle, wilt, rot, and corrode.  Admittedly, few crave such a refined pleasure, but those who do will find an especially focused, tightly edited, and immersive Fossil Aerosol Mining Project experience here.

Samples can be found here.

Last Updated on Sunday, 11 April 2021 21:30  


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